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Dental Implants: All on 4 versus All on 6

A Brownstown Dental Care blog post by Dr. Ben Hanson
Did you know that millions of American adults suffer from tooth loss? This tooth loss occurs for a variety of reasons including trauma, gum disease, tooth decay, and genetics.

The good news is, if you are missing most or all of your teeth, you have lots of options for tooth replacement, including the following:

Many of our patients at Brownstown Dental Care opt for the “all-on” system because it is more affordable than individual dental implants, and more natural looking than dentures or bridges. We offer two different types of the “all-on” system:

  • All-on-4
  • All-on-6

In this article, we’ll explain more about dental implants in general, as well as each of these tooth replacement systems to help you determine which one is right for you.

Dental Implants

350x dental implants
A dental implant is one of several options for replacing missing teeth. Most people use the term to describe the entire thing- but there are actually three components involved:

  • Implant: This is a titanium screw-like device that is implanted into your jawbone. It acts as the tooth root. After placement, the bone will osseointegrate, or heal, around the screw over the next few months. This will create a stable platform for the prosthetic tooth
  • Abutment: Abutment is a connector that is attached to the implant that the crown will be attached to
  • Crown: Crown is a porcelain or ceramic prosthetic tooth that looks, feels, and acts like your natural teeth

Advantages of Dental Implants
When it comes to modern dentistry, dental implants are among the most popular tooth replacement solutions. There are several advantages of single dental implants, including:

They are permanent

Once successfully placed, a dental implant looks, feels, and acts like a natural tooth. It will blend in with the rest of them. Dental implants are long-lasting and durable.

They are easy to maintain

Since implants mimic your natural teeth, you treat them the same. Therefore, you would brush and floss them daily just like your natural teeth. Though the prosthetic tooth will not be affected by tooth decay, the surrounding teeth and gums are vulnerable. Therefore, in order to prevent infection and keep your gums and surrounding natural teeth healthy, keep them clean.

They are easy to replace

Typically, a dental implant is long-lasting and durable. However, the crown is a lot like your natural tooth and may be damaged. The good thing is, you won’t have to get a whole new implant. We can simply replace the crown with a new one.

They keep your jawbone healthy

Since dental implants are placed into your jawbone, they keep your jawbone active. The titanium screw fuses with your jawbone, building it up and preventing deterioration. This means that your overall oral health is improved, and the surrounding teeth are kept healthy.
Disadvantages of Dental Implants

Dental implants are the best option if you can afford them. Of course, as with other tooth replacement options, dental implants do have some disadvantages as well.

The process takes awhile

One of the major disadvantages of dental implants is the time investment required. Once the implants are placed, you will need to heal completely before the next step can be taken. Some of our patients don’t want to wait that long. They want to get back to eating their favorite foods and smiling quickly. Dental implants can take several months from start to finish.

They are permanent

While most of our patients see this as an advantage, there are some that feel like it’s a disadvantage. Some patients prefer a denture or bridge because they can take it out at the end of the day. However, if placed successfully, dental implants are almost unnoticeable.

Contact the team at Brownstown Dental Care to learn more about dental implants and other tooth replacement options.

“All-on” Tooth Replacement Solutions

At Brownstown Dental Care, we offer two versions of the “all-on” system for tooth replacement. This involves placing a certain number of dental implants- either 4 or 6, depending on which one is believed to be best for you- and a denture is permanently attached to the implants.

Below, we’ll explain more about each one of these options to help you understand them before you schedule your consultation. This will enable you to work with the dentist to determine the best solution for you.

All-on-4 Dental Implants

350x all on 4
The “all-on-4” dental implants is a full set of prosthetic teeth that are designed to replace an entire arch of teeth. This is a permanent, natural-looking alternative to removable dentures.
As mentioned, single dental implants involve one titanium screw with a single prosthetic tooth attached. However, with the all-on-4 system, each tooth does not need to be replaced individually. Instead, the dentist will place four implants into your jaw- two in the back and two in the front. These will act as anchors for the denture that will be attached to them.
This dental prosthetic will remain in your mouth permanently and will mimic the look of your natural teeth. You won’t have to worry about the denture slipping and sliding around in your mouth, as it will be attached to the implants.
Advantages & Disadvantages of All-on-4

The all-on-4 tooth replacement system provides patients with renewed confidence in their appearance. There are several advantages associated with the all-on-4 solution:

  • An entire arch of teeth can be replaced with just one surgery in just one day
  • The implants secure the denture to your gums, so you don’t have to worry about it shifting and sliding around in your mouth like traditional removable dentures
  • Procedure only requires 4 implants to replace an entire arch of teeth.
  • Costs less than replacing each tooth with a single implant
  • Doesn’t typically require bone grafting

All-on-4 is a great option for patients of all ages who are missing most or all of their teeth. Most of our patients are 100% satisfied with the results. However, everyone is different, so it’s important to take the time to discuss all aspects of the procedure to make sure this is a good solution for you.

Just like any other tooth replacement procedure, it’s important to understand that there are a few disadvantages:

  • You must have sufficient bone density to hold the implants
  • You are unable to test how the teeth look/feel prior to the procedure
  • Implants cannot be placed in the molar area

How long does All-on-4 Last?
All-on-4 dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement solution. With proper care and maintenance, your implants can last a lifetime. According to research, the long-term success rate after 10 years is 94%.
Recovery Time for All-on-4
For traditional implants, the average recovery time is 3 to 8 months. However, with the all-on-4 implant system, recovery is much quicker. The all-on-4 implants fuse with your bone more easily than single implants, which translates into improved stability.
Cleaning All-on-4 Implants

Following surgery, you can clean the surgical site by rinsing with salt water. Once you have healed, All-on-4 implants can be treated just like natural teeth. Simply brush and floss daily and schedule regular cleanings and check-ups with your dentist. Prior to the procedure, we will take the time to go over some more specific oral hygiene tips that will meet your personal health needs.

Cost of All-on-4 Implants

There are several factors involved in determining the cost of your All-on-4 implants, including:

  • Material
  • Number of teeth required
  • Your dental coverage

Prior to the procedure, we can discuss your options and cost with you. Our office staff will work with your insurance company to determine coverage or discounts. We’ll look closer at the costs of the All-on-4 solution versus the All-on-6 solution later.

All-on-6 Dental Implants

350x all on 6
The All-on-6 dental implants tooth replacement solution is a lot like All-on-4, with one exception: instead of using 4 implants per arch, the dentist installs 6 per arch. This improves the stability of the denture. This is also a permanent tooth replacement solution that replaces a full arch- either top or bottom.

Just like traditional implants, your jawbone will naturally fuse with the implants over time, creating a stable foundation for your permanent denture. The implants are made to mimic your natural tooth roots.

Advantages & Disadvantages of All-on-6

There are several advantages of the all-on-6 tooth replacement solution:

  • Patients recover quickly compared to single dental implants
  • You will enjoy speaking and eating once again
  • You will have a beautiful, white smile
  • You don’t have to worry about removing dentures to clean them
  • Instantly makes you look younger
  • Lifelong solution
  • Provides long-term results
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Improves overall oral health
  • Bone grafting rarely required

Both the All-on-4 and All-on-6 procedures are viable solutions for patients who are missing all or most of their teeth or plan to have their teeth extracted at some point. Both are long-term solutions for those who have difficulty talking, smiling, or chewing/eating.

The primary disadvantage of the All-on-6 option is the cost. Since there are 2 additional implants, this option will cost more than the All-on-4.

How are All-on-4 and All-on-6 Different?

As mentioned, these two tooth replacement solutions are similar. The All-on-4 uses 4 implants while the All-on-6 uses 6 implants. Both are permanent tooth replacement options and allow you to function without dentures slipping and sliding around in your mouth when you’re talking or eating.

Both of these tooth replacement options take about 2 to 3 hours to complete. In most cases, we will use general anesthesia. Finally, in both procedures, we will attach a full-arch denture plate to the implants instead of a single prosthetic tooth.

There are 3 primary differences between the All-on-4 dental implants and the All-on-6 dental implants:

  • The number of implants used: 6 versus 4. All-on-6 offers better stability and is perfect for patients who have a long arch where 4 implants may not be as effective and could result in a broken or fractured prosthetic.
  • Since the All-on-6 option uses 2 additional implants, it does cost slightly more than the All-on-4 option.
  • In the All-on-4, the dental implants in the back are slightly angled. This puts less of a cantilever effect on the denture, which reduces the risk of breakage or fracture. On the other hand, the All-on-6 option places the implants in a parallel fashion, which increases the risk of breakage/fracture of the prosthetic.

Comparing the Cost of All-on-4 versus All-on-6 Options

As mentioned, one of the primary differences between these two dental implant options is the cost.

Since there are fewer implants, All-on-4 is typically less expensive. The average cost is approximately $59,000 for both arches. This includes a total of 8 implants (4 on the top and 4 on the bottom), as well as a set of dentures for both the top and the bottom.

Of course, the cost does vary based on a variety of factors, including the quality of your jawbone and whether or not you require additional procedures. You may pay as little as $35,000 or as much as $120,000. While the procedure is typically shorter than replacing each tooth with a single implant, it may take up to a year if more work is required.

The All-on-6 option, on the other hand, will cost you a little more since there are two extra implants. On average, the cost of All-on-6 ranges between $40,000 to $140,000. Again, the final cost depends on whether or not you require additional procedures and how much your dental insurance will cover.

At Brownstown Dental care, we know that it can be difficult to come up with this much money upfront. However, our office staff will work with your insurance company to determine coverage. We also want to make sure we take care of our patients, so we offer several options for financing, including special financing options. We don’t want you to delay your treatment. We want to restore your smile and ability to eat, smile, and talk as quickly as possible.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you are missing just a few teeth, you may want to consider single dental implants- but if you are missing most or all of your teeth, All-on-4 or All-on-6 might be more viable solutions for you. They are similar, with a few differences:

  • The number of implants
  • How the implants are placed
  • The cost

Schedule your consultation today and let the dental team at Brownstown Dental Care work with you to find the best tooth replacement option for you.

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